The last time I purchased a barrel of wine was in 2003 in Carcassonne in the South of France. I purchased this at a charity auction at a price that approximated $12 a bottle. I had it bottled, shipped to a French port, then on to New York where it was picked up by Western Carriers and shipped to a State registered distributor adding another $3 per bottle to the cost.
The process took two years. First was the aging in the barrel, then bottling and then six months traveling. One reader of this blog tasted the wine and said it was the best of its type he ever had. Some of my friends took a few cases and it became their house wine. In less than three months the wine was consumed and people asked for more. No can do. It was unique.
October 27th, 2015 in Madrid - We walked the local market next to our new home, purchased our fish and fruit, three types of cheese and a bottle of Otazu Chardonnay 2013 from Navarra in Northern Spain.
Wow Factor: The Otazu is the nearest thing in taste to the wine I had purchased ten years ago. The price is 8.70 Euros per bottle, about $9.60.
My tasting notes: Light golden color, mid-viscosity, evidence of sugar in the appearance indicating a warm climate, soft honey and lime nose, background of light spices, maybe cinnamon and coriander, a lean flavor with a citrus touch. We used a well flavored homemade fish stew for the pairing and it was ideal. A nicely flavored chicken dish would do the same.
Label tasting notes:
Otazu: Blanco Chardonnay. Color amarillo limon, limpio y brilliante. Nariz intensa, con notas citricas y fruta tropical. En boca se presenta fresco y amable.
Otazu: White Chardonnay. Lemon yellow color, clean and bright. Intense nose with notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Fresh and pleasant on the palate.
Karen's tasting notes: She says she needs to try a few more bottles to make accurate notes for tasting.
Karen and I have tasted over sixty different white wines during the last year, and along with a couple of friends, have agreed on a little grading system. One star means you would not want a second glass, two stars indicates you would buy a second bottle, and a three star rating means would you buy a case. I liked Otazu so much I would buy a barrel which is over twenty cases.
If you liked (or didn't like) a wine, the first question to always ask your self is "Was it the wine or the occasion"? In this case, it was the wine. The occasion was a simple afternoon at home. Although we enjoy those types of days - so maybe it was both.
Our first visit to the wonderful Mercado Chamartin, with its fresh fruits, meats and cheeses so brilliantly displayed was a trip to remember. We saw our fish cut as we directed, our cheese cut to the size we wanted, and our fruit checked by the store holder.
The wine was displayed with a bottle of this and a few of that - no piles of cases and crates - no end caps - no "two for ones" or special deals. The packaging was an art form and the service professional with a smile. This is where we purchased the Otazu. It was served perfectly chilled at 48 degrees Fahrenheit and served in a good quality glass.
Of course, we went back to the Mercado for the second and third bottle! (It stays fresh when opened for about four days in a fridge.)
Our next big adventure will be a wine tour of the local vineyards. It will be Karen and my first visit to a vineyard together. There is a Viatour tour which will cost about $150 each for the day trip, the reviews are excellent, and three vineyards are visited. The area is less than thirty miles away so I am contemplating doing it on our own. Will we find another perfect wine?
Best wine lesson so far on the trip? Spanish wine is 75% less expensive that at home, the food about half price, and the mercardos are an eye opening experience that we never tire of exploring.
Hasta la próxima: Recuerde que todos los momentos que te hacen feliz!
(Until next time: Remember all the moments that make you happy!)